David Bowie, Ringo Starr and their hair, relaxing back stage.
Omg I’ve never seen this before
This is from a remarkable 1974 BBC documentary called Cracked Actor. They re-run it every so often, but it’s also available online if you poke around a bit. By far the best documentation (and really, darn near the ONLY documentation) we have of one of the artistically ambitious tours undertaken by anyone to date, very quickly stripped down soon after this as David turned the corner from glam to soul. He was clearly having a bit of trouble personally, and the interviews are difficult to watch, but my god, the performances are stunning.
There’s also a bit from Ziggy’s final show (D.A. Pennebaker’s famous footage), as well as a few other shows on this tour, and for my money, 1974 really is where all pieces started coming together, as David leaves the intentional fakery of Ziggy, and Ziggy’s musically conservative, retro vibe behind to become something truly new.
Here’s part 1 of Cracked Actor, noting again that if you can’t see this in your territory or if it gets taken down, just keep poking around (including beyond YouTube). It’s out there, I promise, in every sense of that phrase, and worth every bit of effort to track it down.
Fame on the Cher Show (1975)
His US primetime debut, aired November 8.
The drive in movie theater did a labyrinth night and my little brother went all in
GOOD DAY EVERYBOWIE🥰
DAVID BOWIE ‘HUNKY DORY’
Another fantastic Brian Ward photo from HD album cover sessions
David Bowie on The Dick Cavett Show, aired December 5, 1974, with David Sanborn (sax), Earl Slick, Carlos Alomar (guitars), and Pablo Rosario (percussion)
I need to find this somewhere on the interwebs.
Here ya go! It’s quite ragged, coming at the end of 74 Diamond Dog/Soul Dog shows. David’s voice is shredded, but this stompin’ cover of “Footstompin’” by The Flairs features a Carlos Alomar riff that evolved into the foundation of Bowie’s track “Fame”, which the band recorded the following month.
Also featured: Geoff MacCormack (aka Warren Peace) and Luther Vandross on vocals, David Sanborn on sax, and a cutaway to a dancing Ava Cherry.
Poke around and you can find this entire episode of Cavett online, with a highly animated (coked up?) Bowie chattering away, as well as edited performances of “1984″ and the recently recorded but still unreleased title track of “Young Americans”.
Keep in mind that in the US, we were still nearly a full year before Bowie’s prime time TV debut (on Cher, November 23, 1975), so this was the first time that much of mainstream America got a look at our boy in action– as well, indeed, as the first look most of us got of Luther Vandross and the wailin’ David Sanborn.
So a bit of a mess, yes, but history usually is!
David Bowie backstage before going on as The Elephant Man on Broadway. 1980
Mary Ellen Mark
From the October, 1979 issue of GROOVES Magazine